Join us as we delve into the creative world of Ioulia Florentzi, a talented artist whose work transcends boundaries and captivates viewers with its unique blend of techniques and concepts. In this exclusive interview, Ioulia shares insights into her background, artistic process, and upcoming projects, offering a glimpse into the mind of a visionary creator. From her early influences to her current explorations, learn about the inspirations that drive Ioulia's artistry and the exciting developments on the horizon. Don't miss this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of one of the newest voices in contemporary art. Let's embark on a journey through Ioulia's artistic landscape together.

The following interview has been edited and condensed.


COMA: Ioulia, let's start by delving into your background and current artistic endeavors. Can you share a bit about your journey so far?

Ioulia: Certainly. I hail from the small city of Kavala in Greece, born in 1998. My artistic journey began in Thessaloniki in 2016, where I pursued fine art studies, graduating in 2022. Following that, I delved into experimenting with teaching art. Currently, I find myself immersed in the artistic research program here in Gothenburg. This program not only provides studio space but also emphasizes contextualizing our work, researching, and building cohesive arguments as artists. While I used to spend most of my time creating art in the studio, my focus has shifted towards reading and writing, a necessary aspect of this research-based program.

COMA: Your research focuses on the female experience, particularly within romantic relationships through a feminist lens. Could you elaborate on that?

Ioulia: Absolutely. My current focus zooms in on romantic relationships with men, particularly within the context of Balkan countries and Greece. Although my personal experiences initially fueled my artistic endeavors, I'm now incorporating the experiences of others, exploring femininity and feminine life in Greece and the Balkans. It's a shift from purely autobiographical work to a more inclusive exploration of shared experiences.

COMA: Navigating objectivity while infusing personal experiences into your work seems challenging. How do you manage this balance?

Ioulia: It's indeed a challenge. Initially, objectivity eluded me, but I've been actively collecting and incorporating other people's stories and experiences into my work. Surprisingly, these pieces have resonated with audiences, despite not being solely autobiographical. This feedback helps guide my research and ensures relatability to a broader audience.

COMA: Your work incorporates elements from contemporary culture, such as memes. What drew you to using memes as part of your artistic expression?

Ioulia: Memes have organically seeped into our daily lives, shaping our cultural landscape. As someone immersed in online spaces, I couldn't ignore their influence. Friends even likened my work to memes, prompting me to consciously incorporate them as references in my art.

COMA: How do you navigate the academic and artistic validity of memes within your work?

Ioulia: While challenging, I view memes as valuable cultural artifacts that reflect societal sentiments. They serve as a source of inspiration and insight into collective emotions, making them a relevant reference point in my work.

COMA: Looking ahead, what do you envision for the future of memes within artistic expression?

Ioulia: Memes have already found their place within the artistic scene, with many artists drawing inspiration from them. I anticipate their continued integration into artistic discourse, perhaps even evolving into more established forms of artistic expression.

COMA: Your work explores various themes, including the female experience and societal norms. Could you provide insight into your artistic process and the themes you tackle?

Ioulia: My work delves into multifaceted aspects of the female experience, shaped by cultural and societal contexts. Transitioning from Greece to Sweden has highlighted stark differences in societal dynamics, influencing my perspective and thematic exploration. Through symbols and archetypes, I aim to convey complex narratives surrounding femininity and societal expectations.

COMA: Reflecting on your upcoming exhibitions, could you offer a glimpse into the pieces you'll be presenting at COMA?

Ioulia: Certainly. One piece, "Wilted Blossom," explores the contradictory nature of personal growth amidst societal pressures. Using symbols like blossoms and self-defense knives, I delve into the complexities of navigating one's twenties. Another piece draws from ancient Greek mythology, featuring the "Snake Goddess" archetype alongside modern-day imagery, inviting viewers to contemplate the evolution of female representation.

COMA: As you look towards the future, what can we expect from you in 2024?

Ioulia: My focus remains on academic research and artistic exploration. I have several exhibitions lined up, offering opportunities to showcase my evolving body of work. While continuing with my passion for textiles and embroidery, I also hope to venture into new artistic mediums, such as painting, and further explore techniques like tufting. The journey ahead promises continued growth and creative discovery.

COMA: Thank you, Ioulia, for sharing your insights and artistic journey with us. We look forward to witnessing your continued artistic evolution.

Ioulia: Thank you for the opportunity.

April, 2024 - COMA Editorial team